"This flood
This flood is slowly rising up
Swallowing the ground
Beneath my feet
Tell me how anybody thinks
Under this condition
So I'll swim I'll swim
As the water rises up
Sun is sinking down
And now all I can see
Are the planets in a row
Suggesting it's best that I
Slow down
This night's a perfect shade of

Dark blue, dark blue
Have you ever been alone in a crowded room?
When I'm here with you
I said the world could be burning, burning down
Dark blue, dark blue."

- Jack's Mannequin


The mountains can be a place of both wonder and sorrow. Persephone Keith knows what it's like to feel both. During the winter of her eighth year Scarlett fever spread through the mountains claiming many loved ones, her parents were no different. The child had tried to cure them to the best of her abilities, but they had died suffering together, leaving their only daughter behind.

Persephone had dragged her parents bodies outside and layed them under a giant pine because the ground was too frozen to dig holes. Then she read from her mama's bible to lay them to rest and send them on to a better place. For two weeks the eight year old lived on her own, relying on the skills her mama and Pa taught her. Cooking her own food, chopping wood, and cleaning she made it work, but supplies only last so long and at the end of the week there was no more food. Starving and low on energy Persephone layed in bed and waited, for what she didn't know, she just knew she couldn't do anything else.

Conner Ingalls had a feeling that he had to check on his neighbor, Jack that morning. So he kissed his wife and said goodbye to his sons then hitched the wagon for the ride to the Keith's farm.

On the ride he noticed none of the usual animals were grazing in their fields and he became curious, he sped the carriage continuing down the road at a fast more meaningful speed. When he pulled up the house was silent, there was no light coming from within and there was no sign of Carrie's constant cooking, now he was worried. He pulled the wagon to a stop and took off around back. Maybe Jacob was running late and letting the animals out with help that morning, but the animals were in their stalls. He then ran around back and saw the two cloth wraps under the pine.

"No." He walked slowly to them and unwrapped the first to see Carrie. Her face was frozen, green eyes still open iced over into crystals, lips open in shock or motion, he wasn't sure. Oh, poor Jacob. He had lost his wife and now he had to lay her here without a proper burial. He reached for the second and stood shocked, it was Jacob. His eyes were closed as though he sleot soundly, his face was frozen in peace forever, iced over to a blue color.

He fell to his knees and sobbed for the first time in years, his friend and brother were gone. He cried for the loss of what used to be until his knees are numb from the snow and his fingers lost their color. They were so young with only one child to spread their memory. It was then he realized that both mother and father were here, but the daughter was no where to be seen.

Conner rose with a jump and sprinted into the house. It was cold and dark, the feeling unwelcoming. The sink was bear, the flour tub empty and the cabinet was bear. It looked like someone had raided the place, but the one thing that stopped the man from leaving was the fireplace. hearth was bear the ashes overflowing, she was still here.

"Persephone!" No answer, he ran up the stairs to the little girl's room and yells again, "Perry! Sweetheart! It's Mr. Ingalls where are you!" He yells louder while looking around the room.

Dear God, please let that little girl be alive, he pleads in his head. It's then there is a rustle in the pile of blankets on the bed. He strides over to find the blankets breathing.

"Perry?" His voice oozes hope.

" ." She shifts the blankets away to show her pale tear stained face and blood shot eyes.

"Oh, sweety."

Conner Ingalls scooped the child into his arms, wrapped her in blankets and brought her to the wagon. Only when they were on the trail to his farm did he ask questions.

"Perry what happened?

"They got sick." Her face is blank and Conner just nods. "I took care of them, but it didn't help. I've taken care of the farm too." She's looking for praise.

"I saw you did good."

This girl was like his own, having seen her grow with his boys from birth and hearing her in pain shredded his heart.

Persephone became the Ingalls ward and them her guardians. Mr. Ingalls did have to sell her families farm and animals, but her saved the money for her future under the name Perry because women didn't have a right for a bank account. After months of mourning Persephone now went by Perry thriving in the house of seven boys. They didn't treat her with pity, she was just another child to them. It was there she lived for most of her life pulling her weight acting as a man and woman both. Until the day Acton the oldest brother brought home a wife and from there her life spiraled in direction she could only dream.

And all at once Perry went from drowning in a mountain figuratively and literally, to riding the waves of the snow.


DECEMBER DANIELS